Verse > Anthologies > Higginson and Bigelow, eds. > American Sonnets
Higginson and Bigelow, comps.  American Sonnets.  1891.
The Human Tie
By Mary Mapes Dodge (1831–1905)
“As if life were not sacred, too.”—GEORGE ELIOT.

“SPEAK tenderly! For he is dead,” we say;
  “With gracious hand smooth all his roughened past,
  And fullest measure of reward forecast,
Forgetting naught that gloried his brief day.”
Yet when the brother who, along our way—        5
  Prone with his burdens, heart-worn in the strife—
  Falters before us, how we search his life,
Censure, and sternly punish while we may!
Oh, weary are the paths of Earth, and hard!
And living hearts alone are ours to guard.        10
At least, begrudge not to the sore distraught
The reverent silence of our pitying thought.
Life, too, is sacred; and he best forgives
Who says: “He errs, but—tenderly! He lives.”

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